The Great War (World War 1) Remembered In Exhibition At Nelson Mandela Bay Aquarium

SEPTEMBER 19, 2014

It was a sombre moment when an exhibition to remember the Great War (1914-1918), commonly known as the First World War, was officially opened at the Port Elizabeth Aquarium on Friday, 19 September 2014.

The exhibition, sponsored by the provincial Department of Arts and Culture, is part of the Heritage Programme hosted by the Province and the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality.

Friends of the Aquarium,  of family members of soldiers and others who participated in the War, Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Art and Culture Portfolio Standing Committee member, Cllr Marion Harning, and the Chairperson of the Provincial Legislature Portfolio Committee for Arts and Culture, MPL Vuyani Limba, attended the event.

For some, the displays were fascinating, while for others, it was a painful reminder of what is regarded, in terms of sheer numbers of lives lost, as the most destructive war in the history of mankind.  As the predominantly elderly visitors viewed the exhibition, they shared family recollections and other stories about the war period, the devastating loss of life, and its after-effects.

“The exhibition is a breath-taking experience. It gives life to that terrible period in our history,” said the leader of the team that created the exhibition, Emile Badenhorst. He added that the exhibition was a product of the work of experienced and passionate artists.

Speaking on behalf of the Executive Mayor, Cllr Benson Fihla, Cllr Harning said: “In this year of commemoration, 2014, we should not only look back, but above all forward, using the shared tragic experiences of the past as a lesson for us and future generations”.

“The battlefields of the First World War represent a roll-call of carnage etched into our collective memory. Even a century later, the tragic events of World War One evoke the pain and futility of what happened there as we remember the millions who were killed or wounded,” said Councillor Harning.

MPL Vuyani Limba said the experiences of the World War and of the Apartheid era should serve as lessons for us that war does not solve problems and disagreements.

“This history, no matter how painful, must be preserved for future generations to benefit and learn important lessons from,” said MPL Limba.

Photo caption: An exhibition to remember the Great War (1914-1918), commonly known as the First World War, was officially opened at the Port Elizabeth Aquarium on Friday, 19 September 2014. image: Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality via Facebook.